Blind World Magazine

"CUT OUT THE DRAMATICS" : What cruel boss told blind Alison when she took white stick to work.

Daily Record, Scotland.
Saturday, March 04, 2006.

A CALLOUS boss called one of his staff a "blind bugger" - even though she was losing her sight.

And when John Pryde saw Alison Henry carrying a white stick, he told her to "cut the f******"dramatics".

Pryde's superiors failed to stop his constant abuse. And Alison has now been awarded 30,000 compensation for her ordeal.

Partially-sighted Alison, 57, suffers from retinitis pigmentosa, a condition which will eventually leave her blind.

But Pryde, her boss at the Kingdom of Kitchens showroom in Kirkcaldy, Fife, subjected her to comments such as, "How bad are your f****** eyes?" and "You blind bugger".

Sales manager Pryde swore at Alison constantly and abused her in front of customers.

Alison, who also suffers from arthritis, complained to the owners of the business, mother and son Kathleen and Ian Graham. But they responded by telling her to give Pryde a break.

Pryde sacked Alison in March last year, after complaining that she had left work for a doctor's appointment without telling him. She suffered a nervous breakdown as a result.

She went to an employment tribunal to claim for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination. And in a written judgment made public yesterday, the Edinburgh panel savaged Pryde and the Grahams for "inexcusable behaviour".

The ruling said: "They behaved towards the claimant in a cavalier, cruel and hurtful manner. They had no regard for the obvious humiliation caused by constant and repeated derogatory references to her eyesight.

"They behaved in a manner which fell well below any acceptable standard of decent behaviour."

Alison, of Burntisland, Fife, spent 13 months at Kingdom of Kitchens. She said last night: "The bullying crept in after a while. Every other word from John was a swear word and he shouted rather than spoke.

"It was my dream job. I had been unemployed for six years before and I really loved it. But the best times were "The worst cases of bullying were when he would find fault with my cleaning and say, 'How bad are your f***ing eyes?' He also told me to cut the f***ing dramatics when he saw me carrying a white stick."

Alison's doctor told her after her breakdown that she should never work again.

But she fought back, and got a sales job with a house-building company.

She said: "I have a fantastic job now and a normal boss. Anyone else suffering in a small business should go to their union or see a solicitor for advice."

End of article.

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